Which type of Schengen visa
should I apply for?
24 February 2021
Each year, millions of tourists and business travellers are able to travel freely within the Schengen area by applying for a Schengen visa. This short-stay visa takes the form of a sticker affixed to the travel document, and allows its holder to enter, freely travel within and leave the Schengen zone from any of the 26 Schengen member countries.
Currently, there is a list of 107 non-EU countries whose citizens require a visa if they wish to travel to the EU. Obtaining a Schengen visa is the best way for such citizens to travel across multiple countries on a single permit.
However, there are several different types of this visa available, each with slightly different duration and entry permissions. Before applying, travellers should be aware of the entry and duration rules, including how long you are permitted to stay, and the number of times you may enter the Schengen zone on each visa type.
Duration and entry rules
The definition of short stay is a stay of ‘up to 90 days in any 180 day period’. The precise length of validity of your visa will be indicated on the visa sticker under the heading ‘duration of visit’.
The number of times you are permitted to enter the Schengen zone depends on the type of visa you hold. Some visas allow for only a single entry, whereas others allow the holder to enter the zone twice or several times during the validity period of the visa. The number of entries permitted under your visa will also be indicated on the sticker.
Your Schengen visa will fall into one of the following three categories:
- Single-entry – Predictably, with a single-entry visa you are permitted to enter the Schengen area only once. This is indicated on the visa sticker as “01”.
- Double-entry – A double-entry visa applies in the same way, but allows the holder to return to the Schengen territory once more once you have left it. This visa type is indicated on the sticker as “02”.
- Multiple-entry – This type of visa permits its holder to go in and out of the Schengen area as many times as he or she wants, as long as they do not stay for longer than 90 days within any 180 day period. A multiple-entry visa is indicated on the sticker as “MULT”.
Multiple-entry visas for frequent travellers
Based on how frequently you travel to the Schengen zone, you may apply and obtain one of the following multiple-entry visa (MEV) types.
- 1 year multiple-entry Schengen visa – This is usually granted to applicants who have previously obtained and lawfully used three Schengen visas within the last two years. Applicants who apply for this visa will need to show proof of previous visas and the trips made to the Schengen Zone. The 1-year MEV gives visitors the right to enter the Schengen Zone as many times as they wish, as long as the cumulative duration of stay is no more than 90 days within any 180 day period.
- 3 year multiple-entry Schengen visa – A 3-year MEV is granted to applicants who have obtained and lawfully used a previous multiple-entry visa valid for one year within the previous two years. This visa gives its holder the right to enter the Schengen Area as many times as they wish within a period of three years. However, even in this case the visa holder is limited to remaining in the EU no longer than 90 days within any 180-day period.
- 5 year multiple-entry Schengen visa – A 5-year MEV is granted to people that have obtained and lawfully used a previous multiple-entry visa valid for at least two years within the previous three years. This visa permits you to enter all 26 Schengen countries as many times as you wish within five years, as long as you do not violate the 90 in 180 days rule.
To get a multiple entry visa, applicants must also meet the following requirements:
- The traveller must have a reason for entering the Schengen Area multiple times in the following year(s).
- The traveller must have a clean visa history, which means they have never overstayed the validity of a visa in the Schengen Area or worked illegally.
- The traveller must have a clean criminal record in their home country
- The traveller must present travel insurance for their first trip to the Schengen Area under the multiple entry visa they have applied for.
Help with your Schengen application
If you require support in filing a Schengen application and compiling the necessary supporting documentation, Smith Stone Walters can help. We also offer a bespoke, twinned service for Skilled Worker and Schengen applications, which is growing in popularity with our clients.
By partnering with us, we will work with you to ensure both your Skilled Worker and Schengen applications are prepared for your overseas employees simultaneously, securing a fast-tracked decision to provide your business with the fastest and most effective delivery possible.
To find out more, please contact our team today.